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Posted on Aug 20, 2020
If you happen to own a machine shop, you are likely to own one of these vertical metal cutting band saws, or vertical band saws for short. As with horizontal models, this type of band saw can cut any metal material easily. It is in fact considered one of the top tools that is associated with the productivity of a workshop.
Unlike the typical band saws, the vertical band saws are very effective, powerful, and long-lasting. The operation is based on hydraulics, which makes it an ideal tool to perform various cuts. That said, choosing a metal cutting band saw can be tricky. So this article will guide you through your selection process by going over the relevant factors, including horizontal metal band saws – a renowned counterpart of the vertical models.
Generally speaking, a band saw is a power saw with long, sharp blade consisting of toothed metal stretched between multiple (normally two) wheels to cut material. It is mostly used in metalworking and woodworking, but are also capable of cutting a variety of materials.
Similarly, a vertical metal band saw can also cut a variety of metals. It can be equipped with various blades that utilize a thin metal loop with teeth pointed downward to cut metals. The blade column is then pushed toward the user to complete the cut.
Vertical metal band saws are able to make three types of cuts:
● Cross cuts: cuts performed perpendicular to the long axis of the workpiece.
● Rip cuts: cuts performed parallel to the long axis of the workpiece.
● Radius cuts: this cut is made by turning the workpiece about the blade as the blade advances through the material. The minimum radius is approximately three times the width of the blade. This type of cut is typically limited to metalworking and woodworking only.
Vertical metal band saws are characterized by the following:
● Have slower infeed cutting and blade speed (Does not apply to woodworking type of vertical band saws).
● Can be equipped with various metal cutting blades that have finer and more durable cutting teeth.
● Have blade guide that is made of durable material.
To help you decide between vertical and horizontal metal band saws, we’ll jump right into their differences. The most defining and obvious difference of both types is the direction of the blades. This is directly associated to the context in which each is commonly applied: you typically see a horizontal unit more often in large-scale, industrial workshop, whereas the vertical unit is used more often in small to medium size metalworking shops.
Another major difference is the cuts. Horizontal band saws are able to produce cuts at higher rate and with more squareness. They typically last longer and are able to cut larger pieces of metal. On the other hand, the vertical band saws are often used to cut structural parts, fixtures, and intricate piece of metal because they are able to make cuts with various cutting angles (e.g., curvy shapes). This also leads to the fact that vertical band saws are usually more flexible than the horizontal counterpart.
The last major difference lies in the type of metal each is able to cut. Although the type of blade you use is often a major factor to deciding the material to be cut, horizontal models are typically better for cutting through harder metal like stainless steel, whereas the vertical models are better for softer metal like structural steel.
:: Read more : What’s a Mini Metal Cutting Band Saw?
:: Read more : The Powerful Metal Cutting Band Saw
If you are certain that the vertical band saws are what you are looking for, now is the time to think about the desired characteristics in your product. See below for some of the selection factor you should consider:
● Size: Vertical band saws come in various sizes, ranging from benchtop units to large floor models. What size you choose largely depends on the scale of your work as well as the size of your saw table. A general rule of thumb is that you want a unit that is large enough to support the workpiece that you intend to cut.
● Variable speeds: You want to choose a unit that has multiple speed settings. Most metal band saw these days include various speed options so that you can choose one that best suits your operation and the materials to be cut.
● Portability: If you find yourself having to transport a machine from one place to another in your workshop, you might want to consider a metal band saw with wheel-portability. But make sure that you purchase a unit with wheel locks feature to prevent the machine from rolling off the stations.
● Safety: Following what we already touched base pertaining to safety, you want to make sure that safety is one of your primary concerns when buying a metal band saw. This includes features like eye and ear safety equipment. Therefore, you want to choose a band saw with a variety of safety features in mind for additional protection.
Furthermore, safety issues often revolve around the blades. When the blades are moving at high speed, they pose a safety threat that you should not neglect. This means that the idler and guide should be hidden in the saw frame by metal covers. Also, a blade guard is important for protecting the operators' fingers from dangers associated with sharp edges. It is advised to choose a metal band saw with blade guides that stay fixated irrespective of the cutting angle.
● Coolant: The quality of the coolant system is also important because it is associated with the likeliness of overheating from extended operations. Watch out for automatic shut-off when purchasing your horizontal/vertical band saw. The feature automatically stops the blade from spinning when you complete your cut.
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